‘Westworld’ Season 1 Premiere Recap and Review: The Original

Westworld star Thandie Newton and Rodrigo Santoro
Thandie Newton and Rodrigo Santoro in ‘Westworld’ (Photo: John P. Johnson/HBO)

Back at the control center, Cullen is on a smoke break when Sizemore wants to talk about the update. He doesn’t think there should have been one, because no one wants the hosts to be that lifelike. He suggests rolling back the updates and making them less lifelike. He thinks their fearless leader, Dr. Ford, may be on the verge of a breakdown and he wants her to know she’s got his support should Dr. Ford be ousted.

Madam Maeve Millay (Thandie Newton) is feeling out of sorts and starts cleaning up the saloon. One of the poker players, Kissy, is searched for any stolen money and as he walks out of the saloon, the Man in Black slices his throat and drags him away.

Bernard examines the Marshal and says he’s as good as new. Elsie comes in and says there’s a serious problem with one of the hosts. In the park, a host named Walter (Timothy Lee DePriest) is going around killing other hosts, pouring milk on their bodies. Two newcomers huddle in the corner, scared. He didn’t die when he was shot and milk pours out of the bullet hole on his chest. He pours milk down another host’s throat but is stopped in mid action by a repair team. Bernard and Elsie try to figure out the mess. Walter got tired of biting the dust in the high sierra storyline, but apparently the hosts aren’t supposed to turn on each other unless they are in that particular storyline. Cullen wants to take the new updated hosts off line because they’re not supposed to improvise; they are supposed to stay within their storylines. Even if the hosts are taken off line, Sizemore says the narratives won’t be disrupted because they’ll just create an even bloodier than usual saloon shoot-out.

The Man in Black tortures the card player from the saloon, taking out all but three liters of his blood. He wants answers from Kissy but the host gets up and runs through the hills. He falls to the ground before he can throw himself off the cliff. Ed calls him livestock, scenery, but there’s a deeper level to this game. He is ready to dig deeper into Kissy’s culture and scalps him.

Dolores wakes up and goes through her morning routine, but her dad doesn’t respond. He’s been outside all night looking at the photo. He’s got a question – one they’re not supposed to ask. He asks Dolores if she’d like to know the question. She calls for her mom just as her dad grabs her, telling her to leave. “Hell is empty and all the devils are here.” He whispers in her ear and she tells him she’s going to go find the doctor.

She races into town and Teddy sees her as she runs to the doctor’s office. She spots Teddy and runs to him, hugging him tightly. She’s happy – again – that he came back and needs him to help her with her father. Just then people wearing blankets arrive on horseback and Teddy tells her they best stay put.

At the control center, Sizemore’s changed events to make Hector head to town a week early. He’s also written Hector a lengthy speech for after the shoot-out, a speech he’s apparently very proud of.

The townsfolk look frightened and take cover in buildings. Guns are laid out and the shoot-out is on, with Hector (Rodrigo Santoro) heading into the brothel/saloon. It’s bloody and bodies go down everywhere as guests look on. Even the saloon keeper is shot. Maeve wonders why they’re shooting up the saloon instead of the banks. Dolores makes a run for it and Teddy is shot trying to protect her. He tells her to go on without him, but she’s too distraught to move. Maeve calls Hector a lowdown son of a bitch as they steal her safe. He whistles for his horse and the safe is pulled away while he tips his hat to Maeve. Maeve shoots the remaining two outlaws left in the saloon.

The control room crew watch over the action, seemingly satisfied.

As Hector is delivering his victory speech to the few remaining townsfolk, two guests kill him and his most lethal accomplice, Armistice (Ingrid Bolsø Berdal). The husband wants a picture with the dead outlaws and back in the control room Sizemore’s sad Hector didn’t get to say his speech.

Dolores cries and says goodbye to Teddy, shaking his body and telling him they’ve only just begun. She’s heartbroken.

The newcomers pose with Hector and Armistice while Dolores is still bent over Teddy’s body as Elsie, dressed in Western garb, checks out the area. She puts Dolores to sleep, alerting the control room they’ve got them all. The upgraded hosts are wheeled into the administration center and only one is not checking out fine.

Dolores apologizes for not feeling quite herself. She says she’s in a dream and Stubbs tells her the dream could affect her life. He asks if she or her father have ever questioned their reality. He knows about the photo and he asks if there’s anything odd about the picture. She says it didn’t look like anything to her.

Cullen tells Dr. Ford that Peter Abernathy needs to be put down. Bernard says the results of the diagnostic are confusing. Dr. Ford asks Peter about his program and he’s obviously very upset. Dr. Ford wants to know if Peter has access to his previous configuration, and he does. Peter says what drives him is tending his herd, looking after his wife, and protecting Dolores. He can’t finish with the old program and says he has to warn Dolores. “The things you do to her! I have to protect her!” he screams. Dr. Ford stops Peter and Bernard tells him they’re miles beyond a glitch. Bernard requests Peter access his current build and Peter says his itinerary is to meet his maker. Dr. Ford tells him he’s in luck. Peter tells his maker that he will have such revenges on both of them. He’s angry and tells Dr. Ford, “You don’t know where you are, do you? You’re in a prison of your own sins.” Cullen makes them turn him off. Bernard says they didn’t program any of those behaviors and he’s gone off script. Dr. Ford actually believes that in the past this model was a cult leader and he’s accessing prior builds.

Stubbs asks Dolores what her father whispered to her. He quoted Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, saying, “These violent delights have violent ends.” It doesn’t mean anything to her. Stubbs wonders if she’d ever hurt a living thing. She replies, “No, of course not.”

Stubbs believes Dolores has been repaired so many times she’s practically brand new. She’s the oldest host in the park.

Peter and Walter are sent to storage. Peter has tears in his eyes as he moves through the naked bodies.

Back in Westworld Dolores now has a new dad. Teddy is back on the train again. The Man in Black looks at a map imprinted on Kissy’s scalp and heads out.

Dolores says she know things will work out the way they’re meant to. She’s smiling, leaning against a post on her porch. She slaps the fly that lands on her neck, killing it. She’s just killed a living thing!

GRADE: B+

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